The personal touch – treating patients as individuals

Patients - of course, this is the correct terminology. However, it can have a detrimental effect when you fall into the trap of it being a negative mindset. Of course it is natural to have a ‘them & us’ divide; patients versus staff. But be weary that this division isn’t causing you to neglect the fact each patient is an individual person just like you and the other members of the team.

We all have a name for a reason

We can feel like a non-entity when we’re not addressed by our name, so please use a patient’s name, ensuring you check with them how they prefer to be addressed. It is such a simple gesture that can have a huge impact.
Our names are a huge part of our personal identity and represent our inclusion in society. By hearing our own name we know that we are being identified as unique. Consider the fact that in the U.S.A prisoners have to exchange their name for a number –this is a purposive act to demonstrate that their punishment involves having their personal identity removed along with the social privileges of being part of the community.
Also consider using your first name – it won’t take away your dental prowess; it’ll just make you more approachable and likeable. A patient isn’t going to respect you any less by not calling you Dr; in fact it is highly likely that they’ll respect you more.

Mutual respect

Yes, as a dentist you are important. But so too are your patients. Without your patients you wouldn’t have a job. So, keep check that your attitude towards your patients is one of mutual respect.

Although this may be the 15th patient you’ve seen today be careful that your demeanour and body language remains consistently positive. It’s about making each patient feel valued and not just a number that you’re herding through the door.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Make sure you are utilising your practice management software for effective CRM.  As well as all of the routine patient data – appointments, x-rays and so forth, make personal notes so that you are able to engage with your patients – make quick pertinent notes during any dialogue such as holidays, house moves, grandchildren – then when the patient is next at the practice “Hello Mr Whitehall, how are you?  Did you enjoy your holiday to Crete in the summer with the grandchildren?”

Meaningful relationships are built on trust

Running a dental practice is not just about providing good oral health care and dental treatments. It’s about creating a welcoming environment and making patients feel valued. Valued patients become loyal patients and loyal patients recommend their friends and family to your practice.

We hope you found this post useful.  If you have any comments then please do get in touch, drop me an email at garymoore@ident.co.uk or call 01463 223399